Creating New Landmarks

DQI Bureau
New Update

One day, a TCS employee went to a zoo with a few friends. Coming across a

nonchalant elephant, the friends decided to test their skills. The first task

was to make the elephant laugh; of the lot the TCS chap whispered something in

the elephants large ears and the tusker was rolling in mirth while pointing

fingers at him. Next task was to make the elephant sob; again the TCS guy was

successful as he had the poor elephant weeping copious tears in no time. The

final task was to make the elephant take to its heels. Needless to say, the TCS

guy was yet again successful with yet another whisper. Seeing the astonishment

of his friends, the TCS guy explained, The first time I made it laugh, I said I

work for TCS. When I made it cry as if it were very sad and patted me, I told it

how much I get paid. And it ran because, I told him that HR guys were here and

are recruiting.


For years, the above-mentioned joke has been quoted to highlight how ill paid

TCS employees are. Even for that matter, company officials at TCS do not really

try and dispel that notion. Or probably they do not need to, because in spite of

all these notions and perceptions, TCS has been recruiting in quite significant

numbersit added some 35,000 employees in FY 2007-08. In fact, in the same year,

the company crossed the landmark figure of one lakh employees (111,407 employees

to be precise), making it the largest private employer in India. There would be

barely a handful of companies that have such an employee base in India and even

globally. The company had crossed the 10,000 employee mark in 1996-97, and has

grown nearly ten-fold in the last ten years.

What is notable about the companys achievement is that while it has been

able to accelerate recruitment in a major way, the company has also been able to

clamp down attrition at the same time. Currently, the attrition rate stands at

12.6%, including the BPO, among the lowest in the industry.


Much credit is due to the HR policies followed at TCS that have been able to

hire as well as retain employees. Ritu Anand, vice president and deputy head,

Global HR, TCS, says, Our HR practices and policies have evolved from being

paternalistic and controlled to being participative and finally engaging. It has

been our earnest endeavor to be known as a peoples company.

An important aspect about retention, according to Ritu, is simply the ability

to listen, to be attuned to the needs and grievances of the workforce.

The spread of TCS is also a major factor in its ability to hold on to its

employees. The company has also put in place a job rotation policy that allows

movement across different job roles and functions.


Expanding the Talent Pool

Established in 1968, TCS has played a major role in shaping the IT

revolution in India. Indeed, the companys first general manager, FC Kohli, is

also known as the father of Indian software industry. Thus, in some ways, TCS

is not only an Indian IT company but also an institution that has helped shape

the IT revolution. As part of its responsibility, TCS actively collaborates with

academia and educational institutions toward creating an ecosystem that nurtures

talent and enhances suitability of the talent pool in the country.

The company has put in place the academic interface program (AIP) under which

student development and faculty development workshops are conducted,

academicians are sponsored to take sabbaticals, and an annual meet, called

Sangam, of heads of institutes is organized. The company has also developed a

faculty development program (FDP) to collaborate with select universities in

conducting custom-made course curriculum to be taught to students in engineering

colleges in smaller towns in India.

Additionally, TCS launched a major drive, dubbed Ignite, with the objective

of creating an alternative talent pool through the recruitment of science

graduates and enhancing suitability of this untapped resource through a training

program. TCS employees are also encouraged to pursue education through rigorous

training programs or external sponsored ones.


There are also a number of leadership development programs designed to

identify potential leaders and take them through comprehensive training sessions

to develop a leadership pool in the

Our HR practices and policies

have evolved from being paternalistic and controlled to being participative

and engaging. It has been our earnest endeavor to be known as a peoples


Ritu Anand, vice president and deputy

head, Global HR, TCS



We are consistently investing in learning. It is an effort because as the

experience of people is growing in the technology space, we invest in their

softskills and behavioral competency upgrades so that people are ready to lead

large teams and be ready to head a geography or vertical. There are different

levels of training programs under the leadership space. We have invested in it

heavily and have made it mandatory that the employees spend a minimum of 10-15

days in a year in learning and acquiring skills, says Ritu.

All trainees in the company undergo a 52-day training as part of the Initial

Learning Program when they join TCS has set up ILP centers in the US, Hungary,

China, and Uruguay to meet the training needs of its global workforce. According

to Anand, close to 2% of the companys revenue is invested on training and

development (that translates into a whopping $100 mn).

Work Hard, Party Harder

Over all these years, the company has acquired an image of seriousness.

The workplace is thought to be full of middle-aged brainy engineers

tickering-tackering over the keyboard. Anand, along with her team, is

consciously trying to change that image, and Maitree is helping them do it in a

major way. Maitree is an employee engagement initiative that has multiple

programs within it. To begin with, the HR team comes out with an annual calendar

of events aimed at engaging employees and promoting the fun culture. In fact,

fun at work is facilitated through different clubs or events happening at any

given moment in time. Besides, the Maitree umbrella also conducts activities

like family day, technology month, health month, womens day, New Year

celebrations, Kaleidoscope for kids, sports month, and other local festival



About 6-7 years ago, we felt that we were working too much and we needed to

loosen up and have some fun. So from small events in different regions the fun

at work started. Gradually, it mushroomed into a monthly calendar. At the

beginning of the year we publish a calendar where we mention what activities are

scheduled for the year. At that time we wanted people to consciously invest time

toward having some fun at work and bond with one another. So, this became such a

hit that now we have a family day, a health month, environment month and special

programs such as Lets Share, Mission You in the UK. Because we made it mandatory

by publishing a calendar, we dont forget it. Now, after all these years, it has

become institutionalized and people are now proactively trying out new fun

activities, says Ritu.

Considering the size and spread of the organization, it is hardly possible to

capture all the work done by Indias premier IT company in a few pages.

Nonetheless, it would be appropriate to say that much like the transformation

TCS is bringing about globally, it is transforming itself. The company is not

only being more attuned to the needs and requirements of its client spread

across the globe, but also the scores of its employees that are spread out.

It is indeed time now, to bury the elephant joke or probably now the elephant

will be scampering to the nearest TCS office to know that the company is

recruiting and sob on not seeing its name on the list of those who were


Shashwat DC